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Old 12-30-2018, 07:58 PM   #101
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Capitani R, your comment confirmed my understanding that radar is not necessarily required on pleasure craft of the typical "Looper" size, but if the boat does have radar installed, it should be used as part of keeping an active lookout. Doesn't the same apply to VHF radio: not necessarily required, but if installed, should always be on when underway, monitoring channel 16?
Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
Peace and blessings,
Larry
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:04 PM   #102
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Good eye, Capt! (Are you Capt of a windsurfer???) It got so rough this past July that the CA Delta waves ripped off my 2-yr old rubrail! Right after that, my prop sliced it in two like a hot knife through butter. Good thing I was powered back.

Bill, is your avatar a negative of a photo or a FLIR image? If I had a FLIR onboard, I'd have much less concern about fog...but I'd still want 1 through 4 as a backup for when the FLIR fails.

What can I say...I like redundancy...
Al, my windsurf days ended awhile ago. The lower back and shoulders can't take it anymore. We had some great times in that Strait when I was younger. The SF Bay and Delta is a special place.

It's not a Flir image, just some fooling around with photo shop.

I have a hand held Flir that has helped in a pinch a couple times when small objects at night that were not reflecting properly. I don't have any experience with the larger mounted units.

Agree, redundancy is a good thing. I take my cue on this topic from aviators like yourself.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:13 PM   #103
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In good visibility, staring at the radar screen rather than looking out the window might be called "failure to keep a proper lookout". Radar isn't a magic solution to collision avoidance as several high profile collisions between large ships and ships and yachts have proven. It's another tool, not a magic wand.

I'd rank electronics:

1) Autopilot
2) AIS
3) Radar

I'm not leaving the dock for any length of time with the autopilot out of commission. If the AIS or radar are out and the weather is decent, I'm gone.

Regarding chartplotting vs. radar accuracy, having the ability to overlay on a modern chartplotter resolves that whole question. Blindly following radar marking an out of position buoy is not a good thing either.

On Windows 10 (God help you!) for a start try OpenCPN.org. The software is free, in the US the charts are free, and it does a pretty good job including plotting AIS targets.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:33 PM   #104
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A few radar comments:

First, radar is not required by law and if installed it is not required to be turned on.

Second, radars PRIMARY function is avoiding hitting something. A secondary function (and a poor one at that) can be used for weather avoidance. However, that will work best in open water and may allow one to maneuver to avoid some weather.

Third, radar does NOT see around corners. It's a line of sight device, very high frequency, and does not penetrate hard objects, trees, land or even heavy rain. (AIS is significantly better for tow avoidance on curved rivers).

Fourth, radar is a poor navigational tool (sometimes). The ONLY thing radar will show is a reference to land or markers. It does not show depth or channels. However, it's invaluable for "correcting" a charting error. Modern GPS is MUCH more valuable for a nav tool, and almost never fails. Now, charting errors DO happen and that's where the radar can find uncharted markers and prevent one from driving the boat over land. But it won't keep you from going aground.

Fifth, it doesn't take years to learn, Paul. Modern digital radars can be leaned in a few days and a few months of practice can give one the necessary skills to make it a valuable tool. Yes, the old analogs were a bitch, but I'd doubt there are any more of them out there, other than in a museum.
====

Now, is it a necessary tool for the Loop? I'd bet that 99.9% of all prudent mariners would say yes. It's so cheap in the whole scheme of things that it's a non issue to just have one. AND DON'T MESS WITH A USED ONE, PERIOD. For $2000 the high end dome radar can be purchased, and yes, you can install it yourself with some skills.

Larry,

Just FWIW, I could strong argue that if you get a boat with electronics much older that 15 years, dump the whole mess of them and install a new radio package for your Loop trip. There's nothing more frustrating that a useful piece of electronics that just doesn't work or quits. I bought a complete Simrad package (less the VHFs) for a little over $12K, including 3 9in displays, depth finder, forward sonar, autopilot and radar. The whole package worked fine, with fine tuning made enroute, excepting the forward sonar, which is a POS. I later added a Vesper XB8000 AIS transceiver which I should have purchased with the package.

When you compare that with the price of the boat, other appliances, and all the other stuff, it's not a huge deal, and make cruising MUCH EASIER.

Also, I could argue that a prudent mariner would avoid heavy fog and night operations for the most part, but they can be navigated "reasonably" safe. However, if that were one's SOP a FLIR unit might be an additional tool to consider.

Would I value my radar high than my chart plotter or autopilot? Heck no! The chart plotter and autopilot is SIGNIFICANTLY more useful, and most of us use them on every leg, even short ones. While the radar may be on, we rarely need it much more than 5% of the time. If it day, VFR, you don't need radar, but you will need the chart plotter and AP. However, as SAFETY item, the cost of the radar for that 5% IS A BARGAIN.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:50 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
A few radar comments:

First, radar is not required by law and if installed it is not required to be turned on.

Second, radars PRIMARY function is avoiding hitting something. A secondary function (and a poor one at that) can be used for weather avoidance. However, that will work best in open water and may allow one to maneuver to avoid some weather.

Third, radar does NOT see around corners. It's a line of sight device, very high frequency, and does not penetrate hard objects, trees, land or even heavy rain. (AIS is significantly better for tow avoidance on curved rivers).

Fourth, radar is a poor navigational tool (sometimes). The ONLY thing radar will show is a reference to land or markers. It does not show depth or channels. However, it's invaluable for "correcting" a charting error. Modern GPS is MUCH more valuable for a nav tool, and almost never fails. Now, charting errors DO happen and that's where the radar can find uncharted markers and prevent one from driving the boat over land. But it won't keep you from going aground.

Fifth, it doesn't take years to learn, Paul. Modern digital radars can be leaned in a few days and a few months of practice can give one the necessary skills to make it a valuable tool. Yes, the old analogs were a bitch, but I'd doubt there are any more of them out there, other than in a museum.
====

Now, is it a necessary tool for the Loop? I'd bet that 99.9% of all prudent mariners would say yes. It's so cheap in the whole scheme of things that it's a non issue to just have one. AND DON'T MESS WITH A USED ONE, PERIOD. For $2000 the high end dome radar can be purchased, and yes, you can install it yourself with some skills.

Larry,

Just FWIW, I could strong argue that if you get a boat with electronics much older that 15 years, dump the whole mess of them and install a new radio package for your Loop trip. There's nothing more frustrating that a useful piece of electronics that just doesn't work or quits. I bought a complete Simrad package (less the VHFs) for a little over $12K, including 3 9in displays, depth finder, forward sonar, autopilot and radar. The whole package worked fine, with fine tuning made enroute, excepting the forward sonar, which is a POS. I later added a Vesper XB8000 AIS transceiver which I should have purchased with the package.

When you compare that with the price of the boat, other appliances, and all the other stuff, it's not a huge deal, and make cruising MUCH EASIER.

Also, I could argue that a prudent mariner would avoid heavy fog and night operations for the most part, but they can be navigated "reasonably" safe. However, if that were one's SOP a FLIR unit might be an additional tool to consider.

Would I value my radar high than my chart plotter or autopilot? Heck no! The chart plotter and autopilot is SIGNIFICANTLY more useful, and most of us use them on every leg, even short ones. While the radar may be on, we rarely need it much more than 5% of the time. If it day, VFR, you don't need radar, but you will need the chart plotter and AP. However, as SAFETY item, the cost of the radar for that 5% IS A BARGAIN.
Great thought.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:54 PM   #106
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A few radar comments:

First, radar is not required by law and if installed it is not required to be turned on.

Second, radars PRIMARY function is avoiding hitting something. A secondary function (and a poor one at that) can be used for weather avoidance. However, that will work best in open water and may allow one to maneuver to avoid some weather.

Third, radar does NOT see around corners. It's a line of sight device, very high frequency, and does not penetrate hard objects, trees, land or even heavy rain. (AIS is significantly better for tow avoidance on curved rivers).

Fourth, radar is a poor navigational tool (sometimes). The ONLY thing radar will show is a reference to land or markers. It does not show depth or channels. However, it's invaluable for "correcting" a charting error. Modern GPS is MUCH more valuable for a nav tool, and almost never fails. Now, charting errors DO happen and that's where the radar can find uncharted markers and prevent one from driving the boat over land. But it won't keep you from going aground.

Fifth, it doesn't take years to learn, Paul. Modern digital radars can be leaned in a few days and a few months of practice can give one the necessary skills to make it a valuable tool. Yes, the old analogs were a bitch, but I'd doubt there are any more of them out there, other than in a museum.
====

Now, is it a necessary tool for the Loop? I'd bet that 99.9% of all prudent mariners would say yes. It's so cheap in the whole scheme of things that it's a non issue to just have one. AND DON'T MESS WITH A USED ONE, PERIOD. For $2000 the high end dome radar can be purchased, and yes, you can install it yourself with some skills.

Larry,

Just FWIW, I could strong argue that if you get a boat with electronics much older that 15 years, dump the whole mess of them and install a new radio package for your Loop trip. There's nothing more frustrating that a useful piece of electronics that just doesn't work or quits. I bought a complete Simrad package (less the VHFs) for a little over $12K, including 3 9in displays, depth finder, forward sonar, autopilot and radar. The whole package worked fine, with fine tuning made enroute, excepting the forward sonar, which is a POS. I later added a Vesper XB8000 AIS transceiver which I should have purchased with the package.

When you compare that with the price of the boat, other appliances, and all the other stuff, it's not a huge deal, and make cruising MUCH EASIER.

Also, I could argue that a prudent mariner would avoid heavy fog and night operations for the most part, but they can be navigated "reasonably" safe. However, if that were one's SOP a FLIR unit might be an additional tool to consider.

Would I value my radar high than my chart plotter or autopilot? Heck no! The chart plotter and autopilot is SIGNIFICANTLY more useful, and most of us use them on every leg, even short ones. While the radar may be on, we rarely need it much more than 5% of the time. If it day, VFR, you don't need radar, but you will need the chart plotter and AP. However, as SAFETY item, the cost of the radar for that 5% IS A BARGAIN.

Flybull pushes "LIKE BUTTON" repeatedly...
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:07 PM   #107
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I respectfully disagree with your choices but not your right to make them. This is why I've always viewed pleasure boats as potential hazards and have not been disappointed.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:16 PM   #108
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Gee... passive-aggressive much?
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:49 PM   #109
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I'll try to get as much navigation/safety equimentment as the budget will allow, depending on what the boat already has (or doesn't have), even if it means getting a smaller boat to put more money toward the nav/safety equipment retrofit --

“even if it means getting a smaller boat”

Boilermaker, WOW! Really bad idea.

Electronics are just a tool to assist you. You can buy a used compass for $5 at a garage sale that works fine. A piece of string with a rock on the end can tell you the depth. A used radar on Craigslist doesn’t have to cost more than a few nights out at the pizzeria.

Get the boat that is right for you, even if it seems too big. If it is foggy or stormy out or there is too much traffic or if night is coming, then just don’t go sailing. Remain anchored. Enjoy floating and rocking gently in the wind.

These discussions do tend to get rather heated but you don’t need to feel obligated to keep the peace around here... how about changing the topic... go ahead and ask which is the best anchor to have
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:57 PM   #110
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I respectfully disagree with your choices but not your right to make them. This is why I've always viewed pleasure boats as potential hazards and have not been disappointed.
Whose choices, you don't say? However, pleasure boaters can make whatever choices they feel comfy with. Commercial operators don't have that luxury, nor should they. They are clearly held to a higher standard.

The Piper Cub is a plane that can fly in the same airspace as my Boeing 747, but totally different animals and requirements, and either could be right or wrong. However, my 747 is held to a much higher standard, as I would be, as captain. Same with my canoe and your Queen Mary. That's life.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:59 PM   #111
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“even if it means getting a smaller boat”

Boilermaker, WOW! Really bad idea.

Electronics are just a tool to assist you. You can buy a used compass for $5 at a garage sale that works fine. A piece of string with a rock on the end can tell you the depth. A used radar on Craigslist doesn’t have to cost more than a few nights out at the pizzeria.

Get the boat that is right for you, even if it seems too big. If it is foggy or stormy out or there is too much traffic or if night is coming, then just don’t go sailing. Remain anchored. Enjoy floating and rocking gently in the wind.

These discussions do tend to get rather heated but you don’t need to feel obligated to keep the peace around here... how about changing the topic... go ahead and ask which is the best anchor to have
Oh, yea, I'm sure everyone would agree on the right anchor.....
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:19 PM   #112
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Yes Sir Psneed, that is the way I read it too.
Sorry, read something they wrote and thought it was your comment.

I apologize.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:20 PM   #113
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I'll try to get as much navigation/safety equimentment as the budget will allow, depending on what the boat already has (or doesn't have), even if it means getting a smaller boat to put more money toward the nav/safety equipment retrofit -- and yes, related education, training, and practice ;-)
Peace and blessings,
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They didn't have electronics when they dug the ditches and you don't need electronics to follow them. People have done the loop in rowboats and on Jet-Skis. They were, however, specifically designed to discourage submarines. Someday, someone will probably do it floating in a bathtub. They will probably disagree on what is the best anchor for a bathtub.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:26 PM   #114
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They didn't have electronics when they dug the ditches and you don't need electronics to follow them. People have done the loop in rowboats and on Jet-Skis. They were, however, specifically designed to discourage submarines. Someday, someone will probably do it floating in a bathtub. They will probably disagree on what is the proper anchor for a bathtub.
Boat,

Yea, and you can walk to work, pick up your groceries with a wagon, heat your home with a wood fire, and listen to your 8 track. Times have changes since they dug the ditch. The vast majority of us will not likely use a bathtub on their next loop trip, or row boats or jet skis.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:27 PM   #115
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Al, is that the Carquinez Bridge? I used to windsurf through there and recall some ripping currents and standing waves on the Ebb.

...
No, those are the Carquinez bridges. They are the second and third, carrying US Highway 80. The original was taken apart when the third bridge was constructed. Yes, waters can be very rough immediately west of there (eastern end of San Pablo Bay.)
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:28 PM   #116
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As to how long it takes to learn RADAR...most boaters don't learn to dock in a few years of normal boating, you think they are actively learning RADAR?

Can it be learned more quickly? Sure but out of hundreds of my students, I wouldn't have trusted but a handful to be on RADAR watch for me.

And my digital isn't as good as some of the old analog sets I have run. Some wiz bang features..but a return is still a return unless using some pretty sophisticated stuff

Sure some stuff might be easier for the novices pick u. But ultimately, the RADAR picture is only a piece of the puzzle in bridge management....unless you are quick at deciphering the info, you can lose situational awareness quickly. Saw how easy that was even with seasoned USCG pilots ....more times than I wanted.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:34 PM   #117
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Boat,

Yea, and you can walk to work, pick up your groceries with a wagon, heat your home with a wood fire, and listen to your 8 track. Times have changes since they dug the ditch. The vast majority of us will not likely use a bathtub on their next loop trip, or row boats or jet skis.
I agree, but now I'm wondering what kind of anchor would you use on a submarine?


I remember when they changed the radar training, after a couple push boats took out a couple bridges.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:39 PM   #118
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Radar (showing large to small blobs) doesn't pick up a lot of stuff. Eyes (and to some extent, ears) are the principal navigational/hazard-avoidance tools. My pre-trawler days the only tools were eyes, ears, compass, and paper charts.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:53 PM   #119
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As to how long it takes to learn RADAR...most boaters don't learn to dock in a few years of normal boating, you think they are actively learning RADAR?

Can it be learned more quickly? Sure but out of hundreds of my students, I wouldn't have trusted but a handful to be on RADAR watch for me.

And my digital isn't as good as some of the old analog sets I have run. Some wiz bang features..but a return is still a return unless using some pretty sophisticated stuff

Sure some stuff might be easier for the novices pick u. But ultimately, the RADAR picture is only a piece of the puzzle in bridge management....unless you are quick at deciphering the info, you can lose situational awareness quickly. Saw how easy that was even with seasoned USCG pilots ....more times than I wanted.
Paul,

I'll defer to your expertise for the most part and you have more experience that I'll get in a lifetime.

As for learning... one needs to be trained, practice and then tested. Then review and train again. There needs to be a training program which provides for that. I've been the trainer and the trainee, and hold a masters degree in industrial education (which might get me a cup of coffee). But there are ways to get the job done without years.

You're absolutely right, "normal" boating may not provide that. It needs to be "training or practice" boating.

Can be done.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:26 PM   #120
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I did half the loop. Used radar most mornings since there was fog or sea conditions that didnt provide good visibility from the lower helm. I used AIS transceiver a TON between Texas and Nola. I should've fine tuned it to help see pots as we ran one over :/
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